Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6 Flu Update

The Mali conference is open, with complacency about the flu as big an enemy as the flu.

"Technical experts are sometimes accused of having overestimated the risks from this disease, or of exaggerating its potential threat," said Modibo Traore, head of the African Union's InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources. "The rampant demotivation that has resulted seems to have affected the main players in the struggle on all continents, and notably the donor community," Traore told the opening session.

Along the same theme, Dr. Webster refers to the flu as "smoldering."

WHO officials discusses the debate on pre-pandemic vaccines--even if not perfect you might get some protection, or you might immunize for something that never happens.

The NRC starts to answer the question..."how do you run a nuclear power plant with 40% absenteeism.

People in Beaver County, PA, are told that the bird flu would swamp available healthcare resources.

In North Carolina, they are preparing with mobile hospital tents.

This article says the US fights bird flu in Asia (including with $$) so we don't have to fight it here (with more $$ and misery).

USAID is holding a seminar on how to correctly and safely use PPE when working with potentially inflected flu birds.

Effect Measure on the state of play in Nigeria--officially there is no bird flu, but no one really knows.

The Buckeye Ag Radio Network has nominated Avian Influenza as story of the year in ag. (I'd like to hear the acceptance speech).


At 8:35 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I have grouped your numerous articles together, for convenience, to make some observations...

First the Reuters article, "When to use bird flu vaccine a 'tricky issue'". Ms. Kieny of the WHO's Initiative for Vaccine Research, is quoted as saying the "WHO did not have an official position on pre-pandemic vaccine" (yet) - which is essentially a recommendation which balances the risk of what groups on the front line will be innoculated first (with a pre-pandemic vaccine), versus, a false start pandemic. The Wulf-meister has real news for you Ms. Kieny, the western world's leading countries are not sitting on their laurels waiting for the WHO to make any recommendation. Decisions have already been made, and each soverign nation will make their own determination. A pandemic is tantamount to declaring a state of war or national emergency... each nation makes its own final decisions, regardless of what the United Nations thinks or recommends. Some things in life are automatic. Some things can't wait. And events can over take some things.

Secondly, the most notable and credible comment of the day comes from Robert Webster himself, which is no surprise. He says in the CNN "Bird Flu Virus Still Smoldering" article... "efforts to eradicate the virus, through killing infected chicken flokcs or by vaccinating poultry, have largely failed; Worse, many vaccines used in Asia are of poor quality and pushing the virus to mutate faster, in potentially more dangerous directions". You can't get more a clearer warning than this from a true expert.

As the Star-Telegram article entitled "The Birds", points out - "... contagious diseases can enter this country aboard just one international flight. Remember SARS" - this statement sounds just like Ol' Wulfgang doesn't it ? This is indeed the way this thing is most likely to start, from a third world airliner landing at one of our major airports. And we may not even know it at the time. We can ship billions and billions of dollars to Malaysia and Africa to support the worlds largest culling programs, but all it takes is a an infected person with a one-way transcontinental airline ticket to North America, and our western world starts turning upside down within weeks. Story blogs like this, become reality.

I really keyed in on the NRC article out of Washington. Note carefully that the NRC is planning for a worst case of 40% absenteeism, and for up to a year and a half. Man, this makes the recent State Dept warning seem pretty muted and tepid, doesn't it ? At the federal location I work at, starting Monday we are making final detailed planning arrangements, to work up to six months at a time, remotely, for up to a year and a half also, until all phases have passed in a worst case scenario (wink, wink).

Finally, the Raleigh, NC WakeMed article and the Times Online article, are both basically about local medical resources and being swamped during a pandemic. The use of tents, pre-designated school gymnasiums, motels and churches, for example, as well as all kinds of other auxilliary facilities, have to be incorporated into realistic health care pandemic planning. These articles are pretty good messages to the hospitals to start butching up now. Pretty accurate as far as I know.



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